This place just gets better and better – I can’t remember being this relaxed for a very long time.
We get up around 6.30am and have breakfast al fresco at 7am at this gorgeous little hotel (hard to believe in the month of February it’s too warm for a t-shirt; before you go jumping to conclusions, I can just about manage to wear a strappy top!).
We walk about ten minutes to Yvrose’s place. The children are so lovely, really friendly; some are full of mischief, just completely normal children, albeit most are orphans or abandoned for one reason or other. Some have medical issues which were deemed too big of a problem for their families.
Yvrose runs a free school here too for roughly 400 local children. She feeds all of them. She relies completely on donations. Now, this lady is from Haiti but moved to the United States, where she was a teacher in North Carolina. She didn’t have to do what she does: she is a Christian lady who just did what she knew in her heart was right. She always helped by sending parcels of food and clothes back to Haiti and money, but she decided to give up this life and become a missionary.
You just know she is so content with her life – you can’t help but be completely relaxed in her company. She is very spiritual but she doesn’t shovel in down your throat. She would put anybody in good form; there’s just something about her. All the children call her ‘Mammy’ just the same way we do. Her husband is here too and has such a lovely way with the kids, and the granny is always around. It’s a bit like ‘The Waltons’ – and I always loved ‘The Waltons’!
There are kids everywhere you look. They are so polite with their ‘bonjou’ in the mornings, with a handshake or a hug and a kiss. We have been made so welcome, and it’s only been a couple of days, and I feel very comfortable. One wee blade fell asleep on my knee yesterday – it’s a quer while since that happened me and I loved it.
I just muck in and do whatever needs done – it feels a bit like camping on a large scale. It’s like feeding time at the zoo three times a day, and I have become a dab hand at peeling carrots – they queue up with their wee mucky specimens. I have made God knows how many wee paper boats!
You know the wee paper number game where you pick a number and another until you turn over the triangle and have something written on it? I asked them (using my Creole dictionary) what we should write, and, unanimously, they said things like ‘”Jesus loves you” or “God bless you”, but then I told them they could put things like “it’s bedtime” or “naughty boy” – I wasn’t sure how far I could go – and then the fun really began. I hope mammy doesn’t find the bad ones.
I’m trying to teach them to sing ‘Molly Malone’ and they are trying hard, even the babies of two or three: they can all do the ‘Alive Alive O’ part. We gave out some wee tokens from home, but realised we were quite short on boys’ gifts, as we left most of those at the boys orphanage in Île à Vache, so I asked each child to put their name, age, gender and what they would like me to bring when I’m back in April. Some said a ring, a bracelet, necklace, toy car or maybe playing cards, but this wee rascal couldn’t make up his mind until, eventually, he came to me and looked at me so seriously, and said he wanted an iPhone. I mean, I did say it had to be small, so I could easily carry it.
They just love having their photos taken, as you will see.